Safety Codes Contract gets closer inspection

Additional information has been requested from Bashaw town council after their meeting held on Thurs. March 21.

The request came about after a discussion about a soon to be expired contract with IJD Inspections Ltd.

The Town of Bashaw is Safety Codes Accredited but building, electrical, plumbing and gas services are contracted to IJD Inspections.

Council was given the option to either stick with IJD or to advertise for other possible inspectors.

“Are you happy with IJD for that part of it?” asked Mayor Penny Shantz. Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) replied “There weren’t significant compliance issues presented. Overall, all the documentation – we were able to provide it all satisfactorily. There was just some little administrative and some practical function that we need to improve on.”

Council decided to seek out more options.

The second item of discussion was whether to conduct fire inspections in local businesses and then send them the charges afterwards after a recent safety codes audit was completed.

The town’s previous fire chief was signing off on provincial reports for fire responses but now a new chief has taken his place.

In the audit, they suggested the town should conduct inspections at high risk businesses like the school, senior lodges, as well as agricultural business in town, on an annual basis as well as find a fire safety codes officer.

“There is potential for fire-related situations and having the understanding that: a.) for safety of those people working on the sights, but b.) as well for the large or industrial or farm-related locations for the safety of the firefighters responding so they are aware of you know evacuation plans and where they would find staff or potential aspects about responding to fires at those locations,” said CAO Fuller.

This recommendation did not sit well with a couple of the councillors. Coun. Lynn Schultz mentioned many of the businesses have independent insurance companies who they receive fire inspections from already. CAO Fuller said, “It all depends on how each business is run and operates.”

Approximately two years ago, CAO Fuller talked about a couple of businesses in town that the fire department request they inspect for safety issues.

“There were some significant contraventions where exits were blocked, certain business functions were not attended to, and areas that were not kept as clean as they could be from a fire perspective and safety perspective and evacuation wise,” said Fuller.

This situation prompted the question as to if they should continue with fire code accreditation or leave it up to the provincial government and other organizations.

If they chose not to continue, it could affect their insurance as well as specific responsibilities.

“I have a bit of a problem [with this],” began Coun. Rob McDonald. “Like Lynn said there, you’re picking on an independent business, private business, and passing the cost on to them and it’s already doing annual inspections.”

“You don’t know that they’re doing annual inspections,” said CAO Fuller.

“Well then maybe it’s a good place to start, then if we can request that proof of annual inspections,” said McDonald. “I just don’t think it’s fair to show up on someone’s doorstep.”

No one from the current fire department has fire inspection training and certification whereas in the past they would visit these businesses on their own.

Currently, almost all fire departments are upgrading to be a part of the national system being implemented so no training is available until possibly 2020 when this system is fully operational.

Coun. Schultz said, “If something were to happen to your business if you have a fire or something, your insurance company is the one that is going to come down and say ‘Hey, you were negligent’.”

Deputy Mayor Rosella Peterman asked about requesting proof of inspection from private businesses but the CAO explained they have no grounds to request this.

Council has asked administration to sift out additional information and to put some advertising out for inspectors.

“It wouldn’t hurt to put something out there to see what prices are out there. We are not telling IDJ goodbye, just looking for other proposals,” Peterman said.

Ice resurfacer update

Seeking funding for a new ice resurfacer has continued to take time as other municipalities determine if they wish to contribute or not.

Administration has forwarded a capital contribution application to Lacombe County but extra was needed to collect letters of support from local organizations and Camrose County who has already pledged $50,000 towards a new or lightly used machine.

So far, the Bashaw and Area Recreation Board have offered up $4,000 and the Bashaw Minor Hockey Association has given a letter of support although funds are expected to follow.

Flush truck partnership

Last year, Bashaw, Rosalind and Bawlf met to form a new partnership. Together, they approved $100,000 to purchase a new flush truck that would be shared between all three partners.

So far, Bashaw has taken the lead on finding an appropriate truck with a boiler.

The one they found cost $135,000 which surpassed the approved figure.

CAO Fuller asked council if they would like to consider having another conversation with the other partners to talk about pricing as well as a policy to see who gets the truck in times when all three partners need it for activities.

Council agreed to have administration plan a meeting with the other municipalities.

Water Tower value reviewed

Currently, the local water tower is ensured at $200,000 after council made the decision in 2017.

They felt this was a sufficient amount of insurance as it may present challenges for removal.

Their insurance provider has asked council to start reviewing this on an annual basis and to provide feedback.

The value of the water tower has been reduced to $610,000 although previously valued at $1.2 million.

Coun. Lynn Schultz asked about the premium attached to this with council having a consensus of approximately 10 to 15 per cent of the value. They felt this price would help them make a decision.

CAO Fuller did some digging and found the premium to be a whopping $12.30.

“That was so worth finding,” laughed CAO Fuller.

A motion was made to keep the water tower insured at $200,000.

Terri Huxley
ECA Review

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